Continuing Mazy’s birth-day story…
I was never so excited to wake up early in the morning! We were told to come in at 5:00am, but to call the labor and delivery floor when we got up, just in case the nurses were short-staffed or the rooms were full. Sure enough, they were busy (which I completely understand) and they asked that we come in at 7:00am instead. Even though I was ready to rock and roll, I would much rather wait at home, than wait at the hospital! So I took my time getting up, thinking about what the day would hold, took a shower, got ready, and finished packing up our bags. I called one more time before we left, just to make sure that 7:00am was a good time for us to come. We were given the okay, so off we went!
As we drove to the hospital, we gazed at the stunning sunrise as we reflected on the fact that this was our last car ride together as a “family of 2”. We were so eager to finally meet this child that we had prayed for, for so many years. We had fallen in love with her for 9 months, and couldn’t wait to meet her face to face. As we made our way, I wasn’t sure if it was nerves or what, but I felt a little cramping. Just another little reminder that she was still alive and well in me!
Pulling into the hospital parking lot, it was nice to not have to rush through everything, but take time to joke around with the front desk receptionist and get registered “again”, even though we were pre-registered. We were escorted up to the labor and delivery floor and met by a wonderful nurse, Jody. As she led us to our room, it almost felt like we were at a conference or special event, as we were led from one place to another, meeting new people here and there. We were told to get comfy and make this place like home because one huge gift is that you get to typically stay in one room your whole stay. Dan set up our “home” as I was immediately started on iv fluids, pitocin to get the contractions going, had my blood drawn, and put on a baby heart monitor and contraction monitor. Remember those cramps I was feeling on the way to the hospital? Well, when my nurse hooked me up to the contraction monitor, she asked if I knew I was contracting already? I was so thankful at that point to be induced, in hopes of speeding up the process!
The first few hours were spent just hanging out. Dan and I got a game of Skip-Bo in and took a few laps around the labor and delivery floor. By the time we got back to the room, it was about 10:00 and I was starting to feel the contractions. It was fun to watch them on the monitor, but as they got stronger, I wouldn’t necessarily say they were fun! I was starting to have to breathe through them and that is when my nurse asked if I wanted the epidural. For 2 split seconds I thought eh, I will be fine, but then reality set in. I could feel my body tensing up with each one and my heart rate increasing, so all it took was for the nurse to say “you may ask for it at any time”. Right away I said yes! By about 10:30, the epidural was in. I was warned by others that it can hurt, but honestly, whatever pain I felt, which wasn’t much, except a large bee sting and some pressure, was well worth it! Sure enough, after a few minutes, I could feel the epidural moving down into my legs and I remember I kept saying “this stuff is amazing!” I have to say that I do have a fairly high pain tolerance, but if there is a med that will lessen the pain of a beautiful process, I will take it. I have nothing to prove! In a short amount of time, I started to feel pretty sleepy and was able to rest.
The hours leading up to about 5:00pm, were pretty much the same – sleeping, switching positions to speed up the dilation process, and just anticipating what was to come. At around 5:00, I remember starting to not feel very good. Dan went out to get some supper and I told him to not even think about bringing it into the room because I was so nauseous. I realized that I was starting to feel more pain and that my epidural was slowly wearing off. The contractions became stronger and as time went on, the more ill I felt. It was at that moment that I thought “can I do this?” I told the nurse how I felt and she said that I could get a booster for medication – I couldn’t have accepted that offer faster! Sure enough, as soon as it started to kick in, I was feeling much better and found my body preparing itself to push. My adrenaline kicked into high gear as I started to shake uncontrollably in my upper body. Then at one moment, I realized “she is coming!” The nurse checked me and sure enough, I was fully dilated and it was time! My doctor thought it would be about 7:00 when I would start pushing, so he quickly ran home to grab some supper, but my nurse had him turn right around and come back because like I said, she was coming! My doctor and all the nurses got prepped, and it felt like it was becoming a big party! I was getting so excited and I just wanted to get this delivery going! We just couldn’t wait to meet this baby girl!
That day, we were so blessed with such an amazing nursing staff! From the moment we were greeted on the labor and delivery floor by the most caring nurse, to the nurses who helped guide me as I pushed, to the nurse who took pictures. Going into delivery day, Dan and I wanted to make the experience one of the best of our lives. Even though we had so many questions, everyone was so patient with us (especially Jody) and we felt like we were the only ones on that floor that day. So when it came to pushing and we saw all of those who were there to help, we knew we were in good hands!
I remember feeling a contraction coming on, and so my doctor said go ahead and push! We are a little unsure of how long I pushed, but I think it might have been around 30-45 minutes. I can’t even begin to put into words, what it was like to watch our daughter being born! Dan made sure he stayed by my shoulders because he was pretty sure he would faint. A few times he had to sit down to gain his composure – as the doctor said “Dan, you are looking a little white,” but he did AMAZING! Dan was there for every push, encouraging me every step of the way. The nurses too, were incredible! Making sure I tried my hardest, but also took a break when I needed it. As the doctor said, I am one who will push myself too far, so to make sure that I take breaks when I needed them. We did not take any birthing classes because they were all on basketball nights, but looking back, I am so glad we did not! It was a unique experience to us and we did not go into that day with any expectations – especially when it came to the delivery.
At 6:52pm, Mazy Grace Sterk was born! She let out a big wail and we knew from that point on, that she had a good set of lungs on her! I remember seeing her face for the first time and realizing that I was moments away from holding our precious child. I looked over at Dan who was succumbed to tears. As they gently placed her on my chest, I was so overwhelmed with emotion. Tears fell as our hearts fell in love over this child we had prayed for. The day finally came where we were holding out very own child. We couldn’t believe that Mazy Grace was finally here and so perfect! Seeing her beautiful and bright eyes. Her long skinny legs just dangling. The nurses cleaned her off and she was placed on my chest to feed her for the first time. That moment so incredible, so fulfilling, so humbling. This child of ours, was in our arms – finally. We were a family of 3!
The rest of the night was a bit of a blur as we learned how to give her a bath, feed her, care for her, but most of all, just fall in love with this little baby girl! That night as we were getting ready for bed, we just stared at her with tears falling from our faces. A dream and so many answered prayers wrapped up in one tiny bundle. So much hope, promise, and faithfulness in this baby! I almost didn’t want to go to bed because it was just that miraculous of a day – I didn’t want it to end! I had Mazy brought to the nursery twice, but kept her after one feeding. I knew I needed my sleep, but also knew that she was a little fussy, so I felt bad that the nurses had to deal with that! Though they reminded me that they are so used to it! Okay, maybe I just had a hard time letting her go too!
Wednesday went by so quickly as we had visitors come and show their love to little Mazy! What a blessing it was to have the family of God walk alongside of us not only that day, but throughout the pregnancy! I was able to rest a little bit in the afternoon, but found myself just so enthralled with Mazy, that I didn’t want to close my eyes! We learned that little Mazy was sensitive to loud noises – twice she cried quite hard, after being overstimulated. We learned quickly that Mazy was used to a quiet-er life inside the womb! This surprised us a bit because we thought she would be used to loud noises after all of the basketball games she had been to already, buzzers sounding, and fans shouting. I guess it is a little more muffled inside the womb than we thought!
Thursday morning we knew it was “going home” day, so we started our morning off slowly. We had a few visitors in the morning, which was nice. By 11:00, we started to pack up and then by noon, we were on our way home. We had a lot to learn when it came to putting her in a car seat, but Mazy and our nurse were very patient with us! I was a little nervous to take her home, not knowing how she would do in the car, but she was a trooper! She fell asleep right away and was out the whole way home. I think I stared at her the entire time.
When we look back on the day Mazy was born, it truly was one of the best days of our life! We felt God’s presence every step of the way. As we prayed over little Mazy each night, we both struggled to to speak words yet keep our tears in, as God’s grace was just showered on us. We never knew our love could grow so deep, so quickly, for someone we had just met! Mazy has taught us more about love and life in her 2 weeks of life – a gift that each day we try not to take for granted.
We were warned that time flies and yes, it sure does! I did not expect to not feel well her first week of life, but even in the days when I felt the worst, I tried to soak in every little bit of Mazy because I knew I would never get that day back!
Oh how a little life can change your life! God continually teaches us what it means to be a parent, yet also how to be a child of Him. Even in the most difficult of days, I am reminded of the song title “I Need Thee Every Hour.” Those days when I just did not feel good, yet cried over the littlest of things (thank you pregnancy hormones), God reminded me of the peace He offers – we just have to ask for it! Same with His grace – oh how He has richly blessed us!
What a gift and miracle it was that I came out of the delivery with no immediate heart complications! It wasn’t until that Thursday (2 days after she was born), that I started to not feel good. It was God’s perfect timing because it allowed us to enjoy the birthing experience to it’s fullest! We never expected my body to retain the fluid it did, but now we know. Yes, it was a scary situation and the doctors were very concerned, but God provided such rapid healing through a diuretic! I never wish to relive that Friday and Saturday, but thankfully my parents were here and Dan assumed the role of dad very quickly! What an amazing father he is! Both my heart and ob doctors said they couldn’t believe the fluid retention, but also look back and wish they would’ve done things differently. I told them we all had no idea my body would react that way, 2 days later. By all means, it is not their fault and I put no blame on them! It was just part of God’s plan – a plan that continues to ensure that we trust HIM every step of the way and that our lives are not in our hands, but His.
I am feeling amazing, thanks to all of your prayers! Tomorrow Dan and I head to the cities to figure out what to do with this valve. Though we pray that when the doctor reads my ECHO, that my valve will be healed! We believe in God’s healing hand and we believe that He may have indeed, healed it yet again! And if God has a different plan, we know that it is perfect, that it is good, and that He will give us what we need to get through a heart surgery. I will post an update as soon as I can!
All glory be to God for the great things He has done!